Pavel Petrov is a legend in his local Bulgarian scene as well as around wider Europe. He runs the EXE Audio label, as well as a party of the same name in Sofia. He has released on the likes of Exploited, Glasgow Underground, Suara and Lapsus Music and has driven the Bulgarian techno scene forward with everything he does. Now he is finally serving up his debut album Youth on his own label on October 1st and it is a broad spectrum of lush sound. Here we speak to him about all that and more…
How are you? How has your summer been so far?
I’ve been doing great, thanks for asking. Summer has been a blast so far regardless of the circumstances. And what I mean by that is that in such uncertain times it was quite risky to open the best party location around but I can finally say that it was the best step I could take.
How are things looking in Sofia now that the lockdown is coming to an end?
Sofia is empty during the summer and I guess it was kind of boring there. New restrictions are knocking on the door but I don’t think that they’ll be as strict as before. In the meantime, we are building EXE Club Sofia’s program.
Have you started playing again post lockdowns? What’s it been like? the vibes, the big tunes?
Yup, I started playing in Bulgaria and as well abroad. It’s been nice to actually interact with people again! Distancing is still practiced but at least I see my crowd! The vibes are even more “lively” than before. I had an illegal booking in Lebanon which was amazing because it was hidden in the mountains of Beirut. Really crazy times I can say.
Can you tell us a bit about this album on EXE AUDIO? Why was now the right time to release it? What motivated it?
Well, the album was created and crafted during the lockdown. This LP is my art in its apotheosis, I poured my energy and soul to get the LP I always had in mind. Got the idea from that first solo album at New Years Eve and locked myself in the studio until it was done. Most of the tracks bring their own character, all of them influenced by the ongoing events in relation to the lockdowns. I guess you should give them a proper listen so you can feel these vibes yourself.
And can you tell us a bit about some of the influences who influenced this work?
The biggest influence was the great desire within me to make my first album. I definitely focused all my mind and soul into this. That was enough.
How much did the pandemic and being at home alter the style of music you made and its mood and vibe?
Not much. I’ve always been super positive, always was, and still am.
How much does your residency normally influence the music you make? Do you make music with a crowd in mind?
My residency definitely doesn’t influence my work in any way. I make what I like in this very moment and you can define that by my production in the past – different genres all the time. While my tracks are in the making I always like to imagine how the crowd would react for every drop, every sound and detail, especially when the arrangement time comes.
Is this an album for the club or the home more do you think?
Definitely a club album. A lot of dancefloor bangers!
If we had 24 hours to party in Sofia, what would you recommend?
EXE CLUB until 7AM and then I know this special place for after-parties where you get to see the whole city, listen to underground music and have a great time.
Can you tell us a bit about EXE and your motivations for starting it?
EXE was our salvation from the boring times when there was no right place for me and my friends Chavdar and Kala (we started EXE together in the past). Then we became a label for quality nightlife. Now it’s something that everybody trusts. And starting this year – EXE Beach Bar is a revolution. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, sometimes these exclusive Thursdays – wow. Everyday beach, quality cuisine and good cocktails. What a vibe!
What gear did you use, when and where did you write it? Does it matter?
I’m using Logic Pro X and then for the LP I used some pieces of hardware like – Moog Sub 37, Roland TB-3 Boutique, Roland TR-09 Boutique, Roland AIRA VT-3 and the Novation Peak. Yes, it matters, because recordings always bring you that special uniqueness.
Can you talk us through three pieces of music or literature that have been highly influential for
you over the last few years?
I would say Maceo Plex – Mutant Robotics. I don’t think there have been other works that have influenced me as much.
Finally, what was the last record you bought and why?
I found that super old school track released by Suara. It’s called “Code Red” by Sylvie Moziars. Love the Japanese sample in it and the arpeggios. Brings me to the golden years of real techno so I bought it with pleasure.